15-00698-F ; AP-2016-00499
|Submitted||July 27, 2015|
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To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:
All contracts, invoices, purchase orders or other acquisition documents for Harris Corporation cell site simulator products.
According to a July 2, 2015 response to a previous FOIA request (15-00587-F, see https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/kingfishing-18596/): "Please be advised, [the DEA’s Office of Investigative Technology (ST)] conducted a physical count and determined that DEA has two (2) Harris KingFish systems.”
Please include all acquisition documents for Harris Corporation cell site simulator hardware, software and training — including but not limited to StingRay, StingRay II, KingFish, Loggerhead, Triggerfish, AmberJack and Gossamer products and upgrades from January 1, 2000 to the date this request is processed.
Given that this FOIA is submitted in my capacity as a journalist who has covered the Justice Department and StingRays extensively, I request that I be categorized as a media requester for the purpose of fees. Here is a selection of my published articles on MuckRock:
I have also been published in a number of national media outlets on topics pertaining to national security, law enforcement and technology:
As the requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com and pertains to a matter of considerable public interest, I further request a full waiver of all fees.
In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.
An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.
Please clarify why I have been categorized as a non-media, non-commercial requester for this request (15-00698-F), but was appropriately categorized as a media requester for my request regarding confidential informants (15-00699-F).
I am appropriately categorized as a media requester.
An interim response, stating the request is being processed.
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on July 27, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-00698-F.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.
The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that the information or document(s) requested are exempt from disclosure.
Director, Office of Information Policy
United States Department of Justice
1425 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
To Whom It May Concern:
This is an appeal for rejection in full of FOIA request 15-00698-F. The DEA invokes wholly inappropriate exemptions given that information pertaining to the requested documents is already widely available on government websites.
On July 27, 2015, I requested the following documents: "All contracts, invoices, purchase orders or other acquisition documents for Harris Corporation cell site simulator products."
In the attached rejection letter dated September 17, the DEA indicates that 676 pages of responsive documents are being withheld. Foremost, the DEA's rejection of my request in full is insufficient, as the DEA does not establish particularized justification to override the public interest in disclosure. As such, the DEA has violated both the spirit and letter of the Freedom of Information Act.
Furthermore, the exemptions that the DEA invokes by casual checkmarks are facially inappropriate, as well as insufficient to justify withholding the requested documents in full.
The first exemption cited by the DEA is b(4), the trade secrets exemption. It is inappropriate to cite this exemption for wholesale withholding of documents. Similarly, it is difficult to understand how the b(6) privacy exemption applies to all 676 pages that the DEA has withheld.
Finally, the DEA invokes b(7)(e), which protects law enforcement techniques and procedures. Extensive case law establishes that b(7)(e) does not apply to techniques that are already widely known, since the text of the exemption indicates that it protects "disclosure" of such techniques. The fact that the DEA owns and deploys cell site simulators is well-established, including by the DEA's own acknowledgement.
In a July 2, 2015 response to a previous FOIA request (15-00587-F, see https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/kingfishing-18596/): "Please be advised, [the DEA’s Office of Investigative Technology (ST)] conducted a physical count and determined that DEA has two (2) Harris KingFish systems.” As the DEA itself has acknowledged its ownership of Harris Corporation systems, it cannot now withhold in full the records of such equipment's acquisition.
Furthermore, there is already extensive information that is publicly available regarding the DEA's acquisition of cell site simulator technology. I have summarized information that is available on the Federal Procurement Database System regarding the DEA and various Harris cell site simulators: https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/oct/14/dea-cell-phone-trackers/
I have also compiled dozens of pages that detail transactional data from FPDS: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2455825-deafpds-harris-corp-stingray.html#document/
In many cases, the transactional data available on FPDS regarding the DEA's acquisitions of Harris Corporation technology include the make, model and field office which purchased the equipment. The breadth of information available regarding these transactions precludes the DEA from withholding documentation about them in full.
In light of the above, I ask that you remand this request back to the DEA for a good faith search and provision of responsive documents.
Please do not reply to this e-mail, as this account is not monitored. To ensure a prompt reply, please direct any inquiries to the contact information listed in the correspondence provided to you. Thank you.